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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

umbrellasd Rebranding Is the Key (521 comments)

A rebrand and a restaurant license, and they are golden: BrightSource Fried Poultry and Energy.

Think about it...California won't be shutting KFC down anytime soon, and they are not kind to birds.

about 4 months ago

Scientists Describe Internal Clocks That Don't Follow Day and Night Cycles

umbrellasd Re:Lunar clocks? (91 comments)

If "they" are men, they know very well that half of humanity is running on a lunar cycle...

about a year ago

Fed Gave Banks Eye-Popping Emergency Loans, Without Telling Congress

umbrellasd Re:Capitalism (629 comments)

> Practically anything with practically nothing.

Something from nothing.

Free lunches.

Conservation of mass/energy/momentum.

I think the Universe disproves your claim. You don't get productivity from nothing. You get practically anything with practically nothing when you have unlimited population growth and resources to pyramid the resource/productivity chain to ever higher levels. In that grossly unrealistic version of the world, you're right. In the real world, it breaks down, right about when we start exhausting the non-renewable resources that are fueling our current 100 year boom--unless we start pulling resources from other planets, which will turn us into a junk planet. That's the capitalist path.

Ultimately, a good life for all is a gradually rising standard for everyone without enormous imbalances that is based on increased resource efficiency as a function of better collaboration between people. Capitalism doesn't quite reach that goal because human nature includes the capable concentrating control of resources for a feeling of power and security. In other words, if capitalism were about concentrating responsibility in the hands of the most capable and rewarding them with respect instead of material gain, then it would work. Respect is a limitless resource that is extraordinarily valuable. Money isn't a limitless resource, nor are natural resources, though are current economic path would have you believe so.

Someday soon we'll have to see this.

about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Which OS For an Embedded Display Unit?

umbrellasd Re:Use off the shelf hardware for control if you c (135 comments)

We have dozens of these projects at my company, and this is the simplest way. There are plenty of vendors in China that will give you a good deal on an ARM5/9/11 or Cortex touch device. You plunk Android on it and then build a native app, or as we often do, build on HTML5 app with a native middle-layer and JavaScript bridge. Pretty simple process. Main concern is the vendor, because build quality can vary widely from the Chinese fabrication plants.

My company builds hardware like this as well, when it makes sense. We could build you this app for a very reasonable price, *wink*.

more than 3 years ago

What Happens When the Average Lifespan is 150 Years?

umbrellasd Re:people will waste it (904 comments)

You've got it all wrong. Living twice as long means you're going "Oh, shit. I'm going to die!!!" for twice as long and desperately innovating because of it :)

more than 3 years ago

What Happens When the Average Lifespan is 150 Years?

umbrellasd Re:Not gonna happen. (904 comments)

The problem with this idea is that the brain and spinal column also age. How do you replace an aging brain and preserve your identity? I think the body replacement is plausible, but the brain aging problem remains. If you could somehow transcode your information to a blank a la The Sixth Day, is it even you anymore? Probably not, but the new you doesn't really care since it feels just like you do about being alive, "Thanks, buddy!"

more than 3 years ago

What Happens When the Average Lifespan is 150 Years?

umbrellasd Re:Easy (904 comments)

My greatest hope for longevity is that it will force people to think long-term because they've got nowhere to fucking go. They aren't going to die. Technology and transportation make the world smaller. People can't ignore what their actions will do to others and the world because they'll have to deal with the consequences. That's my hope at any rate.

more than 3 years ago

All-Electric DeLorean Car To Hit the Streets In 2013

umbrellasd Fast Enough (366 comments)

This one is more than fast enough (88MPH) to travel through time and get that Fusion-powered refit!

more than 3 years ago

Researcher Builds Life-Like Cells Made of Metal

umbrellasd Re:Dear researchers: (259 comments)

There's more about these metal-based life forms than meets the eye.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Classroom Eco-Projects Suited To Alaska?

umbrellasd Bring a Compact Sun Lamp (157 comments)

to drive your solar panel! Problem solved. Then teach them about the Law of Thermodynamics and the folly of perpetual motion machines in history. Then talk about the data from: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/, and the infeasibility of any energy source to satisfy the hungry maw of exponential energy consumption. Then you might consider a small wind turbine (driven by a fan, of course--no I'm serious, you could use the fan as a prop and explain what happens when you reverse the energy path), and touch on geothermal and tidal power. Tidal power is something you could make your own prop for (just add water on-site and be the wave machine).

Still think the Sun Lamp idea is funniest and quite realistic given the craze to trade food for energy and other such nonsensical ideas.

more than 3 years ago

The Copyright Nightmare of 'I Have a Dream'

umbrellasd Copyright (366 comments)

Typically, a speech broadcast to a large audience on radio and television (and considered instrumental in historic political changes and ranked as the most important speech in 20th century American history) would seem to be a prime candidate for the public domain.

Oh, OK. So if I make a song that contains scathing but accurate political commentary, and I perform it in front of a large audience, it is now in the public domain, and others can profit from its reproduction. What country do you live in, again?

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Look Like In 10 Years?

umbrellasd Re:Questions from the original article... (444 comments)

In the domestic IT market, there will be a shift toward IT leadership roles; specifically in managing overseas assets. This is the same thing that happened to manufacturing. As a booming but less wealthy economy enters an industry globally, the lower functions can no longer be done in the countries with the higher standard of living and still be competitive. So you had all the fabrication and labor going overseas, with a focus on management rising to prominence in the U.S. You'd think this would end in disaster as the growing economy drives better education and progressively greater high-level competency in the overseas market, but due to the timescale and how quickly a global economic power emerges (like China), it's actually not so bad. The standard of living ramps so fast (decades) that things start to equalize and then, as we're seeing now, things like fabrication are coming back to the U.S.

It's a long process in terms of one lifetime, but extraordinarily short historically. Right now engineering is going overseas, like fabrication did decades ago. And now fabrication is coming back. One or two decades from now, the same will happen in engineering. That's what I see happening anyway. It's why I manage teams of engineers overseas. My skillset is the one they haven't gotten to yet, and when they do, I'll be running a company, and when I retire, kids in the U.S. will experience a resurgence of engineering opportunities. The issue of quality isn't an issue at all. You don't offshore your work until the quality is satisfactory, and it's inevitable that it will become satisfactory because people on both sides are highly economically motivated to make sure it becomes so.

Unless we (doom and gloom) kill off 60% of our world population when the fresh water reserves are destabilized by global warming, or aliens invade, or--wow, I sounded so stable and knowledgeable up there and now there are ALIENS EVERYWHERE!

more than 3 years ago

AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan

umbrellasd Hey, AT&T! (348 comments)

Fuck you and the text plan you rode in on. Not that any of the other carriers are better. Texts are folded into a header that is pure overhead on voice data. They pay for it whether you use it or not, just to transmit voice. So you're paying for nothing from all of them.

more than 3 years ago

UCLA Engineers Create Energy-Generating LCD Screen

umbrellasd Thermowhatsamajig (108 comments)

Come on. You can't power a phone from the energy of the phone's own display. That would be like living off your own...*OK--that is so gross I can't even make the joke in a feeble attempt at /. Karma* Wait, I just made the joke, while not making the joke andapologizing for not making it. I guess you can make something from nothing.

Skepticism withdrawn.

more than 3 years ago

Drug Companies Lose Special Protection On Facebook

umbrellasd Re:What 'Special Protection'? (181 comments)

What about the "Special Protection" of free speech? Yes, Pharma isn't a big fan of that one. "We'd really rather people didn't have the ability to provide honest feedback about our listed side-effects such as rectal bleeding and--uh--death, Mr. Zuckerberg. We definitely don't want them having an actual conversation on our page. They might mistakenly think that the 50,000 people saying Pharma is about profit and not cure, speak for us."

Poor babies.

more than 3 years ago

Lines of code I've written in the last 24 hours:

umbrellasd Bullshit (391 comments)

If you said more than 100 then there's a 99.9% likelihood that you are either a liar, a poor counter, or an atrociously poor coder. There are well documented studies that indicate a highly competent engineer writes 12-15 lines of code a day on average. Now why is that number accurate? Because coding is the tip of the ice berg so to speak. There's a tremendous amount of analysis that goes into writing correct code whether it be in the design, debugging, or maintenance phases.

If you are cut and pasting, then you suck. If you are counting boiler plate or code generation, then you can't count (because you don't count that). If you are lying, nice job fucko--way to ruin the poll.

Competent coders make extensive use of pre-existing code, spend most of their time refactoring and deleting code, reuse code copiously, and make use of frameworks and third-party products to do the legwork.

Show me 100+ lines of code you wrote today that doesn't fit the above Criteria of Suck, and I will show you buggy, poorly thought out code that will cost you hours tomorrow or down the road trying to fix.

more than 3 years ago

Google Patents Telling Time

umbrellasd Re:You realize what is actually being claimed, rig (267 comments)

What they've come up with isn't non-obvious. Any group of experienced engineers can come up with this optimization. That's the litmus test and this fails. If you do extensive research on the properties of materials and build a super-strong alloy--OK. That's a patent. But if someone asked me to come up with a way to optimize notification times based on actual delivery, I and a bunch of people I know could come up with this without much struggle. Not appropriate for a patent. Just because Google was the first company to get the people controlling engineering time to sign-off on implementing this trivial solution, doesn't make it patent-worthy.

The patent system is broken and it's hurting our ability to innovate.

more than 3 years ago


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